Posts Tagged ‘Praying Churches’
I have known both praying churches and have seen prayer movements. A praying church looks like Times Square Church in New York City where 24 hours a day, there are people there praying. However, the church’s main focus at TSC is not to pray. They engage in many, many other ministries such as preaching, teaching, evangelism, practical courses such as GED education, reading education, job training, etc. and homeless ministries, drug addiction ministries, and so many others. TSC is one of the most active churches you’ll find but they pray. They emphasize prayer in all that they do. Prayer is the basis for their work. They don’t pray for God to bless their work. They pray for God to guide them to do His work (Ephesians 2:10). Their leaders are praying people and they demonstrate it through teaching on prayer but also praying themselves.
A prayer movement, however, might be people who are a part of churches that may or may not pray yet they pray. They sense the Spirit’s calling the Church to prayer (2 Chronicles 7:14) and they sense that we are living in dark times where we need a move of God. We need another Pentecost in the sense that we need the Holy Spirit to move us out in power to see the lost saved by God’s grace in Christ Jesus. These people are praying people in sometimes dead churches. I know of a church in my city that is fairly large but offers no prayer. They pray but they have no strong commitment to prayer like Times Square Church does. They are not basting all they say and do in prayer. They have no place in their church building for prayer warriors to meet and cry out to God. They offer no strong emphasis on prayer in their preaching or in their ministries. Like good Christians, they pray but they don’t really seek God. Now it could be true though that perhaps there are intercessors in that church. That church might not be a praying church but there might be praying disciples in that church. Only God knows at this point.
I believe that what the Lord wants is both a praying church and a prayer movement. The Church can’t just sit around and pray all the time. We have people to evangelize, needs to meet, and we live in a real world that requires that we have jobs, families, etc. But this should not keep us from prayer. Jesus taught us to pray always (Luke 18:1). Jesus’ own disciples came to Him to ask Him how to pray (Luke 11:1). Should not we? Prayer is vital to a move of God. I have never read of a revival that did not begin or sustain itself without prayer. Even Pentecost came as the disciples were praying in the upper room (Acts 1:14). When Saul was converted by Jesus in Acts 9 what was the first thing that he did after begin struck blind by the Lord? He prayed (Acts 9:11).
Prayer was vital to the New Testament letters. Paul said that the Spirit helps us pray (Romans 8:26-27) and then he told the Romans to be constant in prayer (Romans 12:12). He told the Ephesians to pray at all times in the Spirit (Ephesians 6:18) and he told the Philippians to clothe all things with prayer (Philippians 4:6). He told the Colossians to be devoted to prayer (Colossians 4:2). He told the Thessalonians to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). He urged Timothy to pray (1 Timothy 2:1-7) for the salvation of all. The writer of Hebrews pointed to the fact that Jesus was our faithful high priest so we can now approach God the Father in confidence (Hebrews 4:14-16). James points out the power of prayer in James 5:15-18 using the example of Elijah who sought God. Peter warned against hindrances to prayer (1 Peter 3:7, 12) so that we could avoid them to pray. 1 Peter 4:7 reminds us to be self-controlled and sober-minded for the purpose of praying. 1 John 5:14-15 tells us the wonderful promise that echoes the words of Jesus from John 14:12-14, that if we ask anything according to God’s will, He hears us and will answer us when we call to Him. Jude 20 mentions praying in the Holy Spirit. Revelation was given to John the Beloved while he was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day (Revelation 1:10) which I take to be in prayer and worship of Jesus. Revelation 5:8 mentions the prayers of the saints that rise before the throne of God. These prayers of the saints are again found in Revelation 8:3-4.
The point is that we are to be a praying church and a prayer movement. Prayer should flow from our lips like honey from the honeycomb. We should pray at all times. We should pray for all things. We can intercede for whatever and wherever but we need only to pray in the name of Jesus for the Father to hear our cries. Prayer is not a ritual that is boring and lifeless. Prayer flows from loving Jesus and truly knowing Him. When Jesus taught on prayer in Matthew 6:5-13, He taught from relationship and not religious rituals. Jesus even said in Matthew 6:7 that we are not to be like the Gentiles who sought God with many words but without knowing Him as their Father (Matthew 6:8). In fact, Matthew 6:9-13 is not a prayer to be prayed but is an outline for how to pray. Notice Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:9, “Pray then like this….” not “Pray these words…”.
So the great need is for both a praying church and a prayer movement. I believe the Lord is raising up a praying movement. He is storing the hearts of men and women to pray and seek His face. They are looking around at the modern Church and the world around us and they see that we need Jesus. We need His salvation to come to the nations. We need righteousness in our nation. We need repentance in our churches. We need a mighty move of God. We don’t need more special meetings and conferences. We need a praying church to rise up. I pray that the Lord will help you and I to be a people of prayer. I would rather teach a person to pray than anything else. More than being a great Arminian theologian, I want to be a man of God who prays. I want to be known by my wife and children as a man of prayer. I want to see God’s Church seeking His face and not His hand. I want to see the people of God rising up and taking hold of the promises of God and praying.
For those hungry to pray for revival, I recommend the book Revival God’s Way by Leonard Ravenhill.